"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

11 July 2013


Maurer, Paul. Touched. New Libri Press, 2013.

Jimmy hates school and can't wait until he graduates in three years. But when Renee shows up, he feels like he has finally found a friend. Renee's friendship comes at a cost, though; as she spirals deeper into depression, Jimmy finds himself wondering how to help her and if it's worth it to care about another person at all.

It took me a very long time to finish this book. I could blame it on graduation, my wedding, and our cross-country move, but the fact is I couldn't get into this book at all. Not only is there not really a plot (we figure out Renee's "secret power" early on and nothing more comes of it), but the writing is filled with little gems such as the following:

  • "Today I pulled a disappearing act like a cross-dressing Anne Frank and avoided everything" (63).
  • "We were all like balloons from the state fair tied to the end of wooden sticks slowly losing air and hanging limp" (107).
  • "But I've met girls like her before. Powerful in a pack but alone they fade faster than perfume from the Dollar Store" (118).
  • "The drifting that left her feeling as rudderless as a broken rowboat in a scuz-filled pond" (141).
  • "I wanted to talk about as much as I wanted old Dr.Brown to grab my junk and tell me to cough" (144). 
  • "She was paddling in Sh[*]t Creek with only a pair of chopsticks" (151).
  • "I never liked to write before.I thought it was pointless. Now the more I do, the more I want to. It's like you opened a faucet in my head and my sinuses are draining all over the paper." The teacher called this "Imagery at its best" (159).
  • "She literally bleeds her heart onto the paper drop by drop" (159).
  • "He made my crap seem smaller than a cat turd in a kitty litter box" (162).
  • "The sky was filled with corkscrew clouds that mixed white and grey like an ice cream cone from Dairy Queen" (200).
The "cross-dressing Anne Frank" comment I found blatantly offensive. The Dairy Queen comment is inaccurate, as the mixed cones come from places such as McDonald's and I'm pretty sure DQ doesn't sell white/grey ice cream. The stuff in the middle, and this is just a representative sample, is just bad writing. Teenagers don't talk like this or think like this at all.

I had difficulty sympathizing with the main characters. I felt like I didn't get to know them or any of the secondary characters. And most of them had few, if any, redeeming qualities. Also, no plot. Books must have a plot. And the climax scene was not very climactic. I barely reacted to it at all, and I've been known to go through a box of tissues in a single chapter (Dobbie's death, anyone?). Sorry folks, but this one is not worth your time. Find another book to read instead.

Recommended for: This book is written for young adults, but I doubt it will appeal to them.

Red Flags: Drinking, sex, language, violence - you name it, it's in this book. Including several homophobic comments about people acting like "lezzies" or "lesbos." Boys are called "pussies" for being afraid to do things.

Overall Rating: 1/5 stars. The author's bio states that he is a chiropractor, so I wanted to cut him some slack for lack of training in writing, but this book was just too much.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel through Goodreads' First Reads program for the purposes of review.

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